So there I am, in the shower. This is weird enough already, but what sets this apart from other showers is that I was thinking at the same time, and not just about what parts of my awesome body I'd already washed. I have a small dry-erase board to keep track of that.
No, what I was thinking about was thinking itself. You know how if you say a word, any word, over and over again, either out loud or in your head, it starts to sound kind of strange? Take one of our language's most popular words: pouch. Say the word about twenty times, and by the time you're done, the word will sound almost foreign. Isn't that weird?
I put a check mark next to "hair" and re-capped the marker.
The same thing is true of everyday occurrences as well. Take cat ownership for example. On the surface, it sounds pretty normal. A friend of mine approaches me and tells me that they have a cat. The only thing that seems out of the ordinary about this statement is that they're delivering it to me while I'm in the shower. So let's rinse the soap out of our eyes, and examine this statement...
You, a being of the human type, have willfully decided to share your domicile with a little furry animal that makes funny noises at you if you touch it. Babies do the same thing, but babies don't have whiskers and fangs. Normal babies don't. Anne Geddes might disagree because she's crazy.
This "cat," as you call it, is descended from such obviously wild animals as lions, tigers and perhaps those goofy stringy fellas called meerkats. I begin lathering my pits and resolve to look into this further. You talk to this animal. You give it beef. You pet it, and it bites you if you pet it too much, or in an area it has decided is off-limits. You allow it to poop in a box of grit you keep in your closet. You are happy to discover it lying on your pillow, and are upset when you accidentally step on it. You apologize to it, and give it some guilt-beef.
Isn't that strange? This oddly symbiotic relationship you have consciously fostered with another animal that has absolutely no conception of what your laptop computer is, and is yet extremely interested in it? In fact, you will even go so far as to leave the computer on if this furry little interloper seems to enjoy the heat.
I carefully rinse out my belly button and put a check mark on the whiteboard.
Replace "cat" with "squirrel" and the entire description above makes less sense. Still plausible, yes, but more people would look at you funny if you told them while they handed you your change over the Starbucks counter.
Replace "cat" with "girlfriend" and all of a sudden you're eligible for incarceration.
The next time you look at your cat, stare at it for awhile. Not too long, though, because this will make it nervous. The same is probably true of your girlfriend, with the difference being that she is capable of writing to the authorities about it, but this isn't the point. The point is that I have finished washing my elbows, and am dismayed to find that they do not have a listing on my board. "Arms," yes, but not specifically elbows...
Come to think of it, simply standing in a big, rectangular, open-topped enclosure under a stream of water heated by the combustion of ancient dinosaur farts in a big tank in your basement, naked, and rubbing your body with fragrant goo that makes bubbles when combined with water until you decide that you have changed your skin's surface and your overall odor enough to justify your halting the water's flow by twisting a knob that sticks out of the wall and humming to yourself until you're dry (or however you do it) before re-clothing yourself is pretty strange all by itself.